Vehicle emissions are the leading cause of air pollution in Rwanda’s capital city Kigali and other urban areas, said a study commissioned by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

In locations adjacent to busy roads, particularly in urban areas, vehicle emissions are the biggest contributor to poor air quality, whereas in residential and rural areas the biggest contributor is domestic biomass cook stoves such as wood and charcoal and open fire burning in fields, according to the the study done by the consultancy firm Mott MacDonald made public on Wednesday in Kigali.

The main pollutants of concern in Rwanda are particulate matter (PM), according to the study.

PM is a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets that can be released into the air. Once inhaled by people, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause other serious health effects.

In Rwanda, the number of hospital admissions for acute respiratory infections in health center across Rwanda has consistently increased from 1.6 million in 2012 to 3.3 million in 2015, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2012 alone, 2,227 deaths were attributed to ambient air pollution in Rwanda, according to the WHO. Enditem


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